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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 April 2017
Introduces some interesting concepts but there are holes.
An exploration of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and what it means for the self if we can modify the functioning of our own brains.
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on 11 October 2000
I came across Greg Egan because someone had told me it was 'cyberpunk'. I'd finished Gibson and wanted more - more grit, more international megacorporations, more cyberwear.
And I got it, in 'Quarantine'. But that wasn't the point. The first quarter of so of the book is very cyber: neural modifications, private police, dodgy corporations all over the shop, and just when you think it's become boring, that Gibson did it first and better, Egan throws one of the best spins I've seen in recent science fiction and you find out what the raison d'etre of the book really is.
Whether or not you like cyberpunk as a genre has nothing to do with whether ot not you'll like Quarantine, although if you're already into it you'll get through the opening chapters better. It's really good old-fashioned speculative sci-fi, the sort that used to be set on alien worlds surrounded by spaceships, but which Egan has now set on a mid-21st century Earth - a brilliant fusion.
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on 11 July 2001
Greg Egan has come up with enough ideas in this book to get a lesser author through a career. His portrayal of quantum mechanics - a pretty abstruse subject - in real and visceral terms is something else, at points in the book i was genuinely astounded. As hard sci-fi goes this is granite; i have a physics degree and i can tell you that given his postulates, it's all rigorous stuff. in short, i can't recommend this book strongly enough.
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on 18 October 2014
I'm new to Egan (Aussie, b1961). A promising beginning (1984 updated, this time to 2068) that has seized up bigtime by midpoint. The characters are ciphers. This is geek scifi, more (faux) science than (true) fiction. Pity any poor soul tasked with translating such turgidity! 'Even in novels where plot is central, the end rarely gratifies':Tim Parks. In this plot-led construct it was the downbeat, throw-away ending that gratified me most
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on 19 November 2010
A few years back my first Greg Egan discovery was Diaspora which I love and have re-read a number of times. Since his books are hard to find in the U.S., I recently ordered several titles, including this one, from the UK amazon. Quarantine, copyright in 1992, is quite early Egan and makes a fine showpiece for Egan's creativity at this stage, and shows the potential for the works we now have. The reading experience, however, was a fairly difficult slog. Some exposure to quantum mechanics (as I have) may be handy, but didn't help untangle the obscure knots. I found myself calling out, enough already, get on with the tale! Once in a while a nice plot turn temporarily saved the day, but too much of the time I was reading just to finish it off.
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on 12 January 2015
I was hoping for something a bit more when I decided to read Quarantine by Greg Egan. The concept was excellent, and it started off well. But in the end, it descended into technical explanations that ruined the story for me. Those who are less into story and more into "thinking" might love it, however.

The basics of the story work for me. In the future, you can download your brain to live online, and that's a big business. The story revolves around a private investigator who has to figure out the disappearance of a mentally disabled lady. She has the ability to escape from seemingly secure holding areas, and that means she's found a way to manipulate the concept of parallel universes. This has to do with the ability to collapse universes that have spawned as part of all the billions of possibilities that could happen with every choice that someone makes.

Egan does a good job of playing with the Schroedinger's Cat situation... at what point does your observation become the reality that you see and that actually happened. The only problem I had is that too much of the story ended up devolving into theory related to that angle. For those who want to think deeply about that scenario, this would be a good read. For those who are more interested in the story line, it slowed dramatically at that point, and I could have done with less of that.

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
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on 29 July 2013
This is my first read of a Greg Egan book. It is written in the first-person, present tense - which might be important to some readers. It is the first part of a loose trilogy, written in the early 1990's. I don't know the author's background but I'm fairly sure he has some qualification in the sciences.

The first third of the novel sets up a mystery surrounding a missing person and introduces the main character. It is an extremely well-written segment with that first-person, present tense style adding to the tension. The main character is developed slowly and thoroughly, though ancillary characters are less well described. The near future world of the setting is very imaginatively built; the technology of the time is inventive and believable.

The second two-thirds of the novel is very heavy on the science of quantum theory, with the story line suffering at its expense. I can't say that I always followed every aspect of the physics but the concepts under discussion kept me interested, even if they were overly drawn out. Unfortunately, the story didn't quite come together by the end, with the explanation of the science theory overwhelming the fictional "mystery".

Certainly, I enjoyed reading this book and found Mr Egan's ideas intriguing. Its a pity, though, that the underlying mystery story didn't maintain its prominence to the last page. I'll read the next in the series at some stage.
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on 11 January 2010
Firstly; watch out for plot spoiler reviews!!
(it's not a mystery tour if you know where your heading)

Egan's work is 'Hard' Sci-Fi of the highest order. I give him the edge over Brian Aldis (my other favorite), as concepts are heavier and plots driven by 'rawer' science at a blistering pace.

His breadth of vision astounds; always extrapolating logically to the n'th degree. A modicum of effort may be required from the reader at times; but one is richly rewarded with a sense of awe, discovery and achievement. Each book is a Grand Odyssey.

Hold tight and don't look down, because he'll take you a long, long way from where you started....
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on 20 July 2013
The first book of his I have ever read. It sets out at an investigative pace in 2034 that makes the reader start asking questions at the outset about how humans may engage with brain science and evolved bioengineering using nanotechnology insertions in the future. How `mod' advances could enhance or impose not only on our abilities but our understanding of reality and quantum existence as the plot thickens with twists and turns. Given the latest gadgets available to wear, audio-visually the story is very relevant to this decade.

We also learn the solar system has been quarantined by unknown powers who remain so throughout.
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on 16 August 2012
Just finished this, but to be honest was minded to stop with about 50 pages to go.

The book starts as a detective story, set on Earth in the nearish future. There are no spaceships, Space Marines, interstellar travel, different worlds or alien races (except some of these are hinted at). The Earth and society itself is fairly recognisable, with mention of wars and invasions and terrorism, but no real changes to day to day life. Apart from the neural mods (apps for the mind) which are very very similar to those in Infoquake (David Louis Edelman).

The future-set detective story is OK I guess, but I a not a fan of detective stories. Then in the second half the story shifts to being a hard-SF quantum physics thriller, which required too much brain power and concentration for me to enjoy, and once you take on-board the mind-blowing idea(s) the plot is quite simple and overall I didn't find the second half that interesting or enjoyable.

The writing itself is fine, and I can appreciate the idea of starting as a detective story then leaping to something else, but to me it didn't work. But that may be wholly because I like space opera (Reynolds, Banks, Hamilton) SF rather than gritty less-fantastic SF.
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